Jessica Powers

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These Are Not To Be Toyed   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Matt Browning, Klara Glosova, Wynne Greenwood, Jason Hirata, Britta Johnson, Rumi Koshino, Amanda Manitach, Hanita Schwartz, Mike Simi, Ian Toms, Brad Winchester at Soil Art Gallery November 30th, 2011 - December 23rd, 2011
Posted 12/13/11
Even the most “electronically enlightened” among the gallery world typically top out at straight-faced promotion or very slightly tongue-in-cheek use of mainstream web-marketing techniques that end up feeling even cheaper when they try to sell you art rather than say, a real product. It is for this reason that I commend Klara Glosova and SOIL gallery for the actually convincing way that they chose to advertise their current show; . W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) is a... [more]
Preservation Hall   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Theaster Gates at Seattle Art Museum December 9th, 2011 - July 1st, 2012
Posted 12/13/11
Last Thursday, I attended the opening of Theaster Gates' new project at the Seattle Art Museum, , not quite knowing what to expect. As the recipient of the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship for 2011-2012, Gates was given a room in the museum, a cash prize, and a mandate to pursue his practice however he saw fit. Gates is interdisciplinary enough that anything might be possible. In the past his work has used urban planning, community organizing, architecture, music, performance,... [more]
Use It For What It's Used For   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Andy Coolquitt, Jason Dodge, Rachel Harrison, Shelley Jackson, Brian Jungen, Zoe Leonard, Daniel Pflumm, Sam Taylor-Wood, Fred Wilson at Western Bridge September 16th, 2011 - December 17th, 2011
Posted 11/23/11
Western Bridge is closing in August of 2012, ending an eight-year run that felt like a lifetime of art experiences created exclusively for the Northwest. While the current exhibit, Repossessed, engages questions of its legacy and collection directly, I want to focus on a single piece as the jumping off point for a commentary on the nature and importance of this space. The first thing that must be understood is that the gallery was conceived as a temporary project space that happened to house... [more]
Landscape Primitivism   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Claude Zervas at James Harris Gallery October 13th, 2011 - November 26th, 2011
Posted 11/15/11
Civilization was born in the valleys of the Fertile Crescent, and Claude Zervas was born in the fertile flats of the Skagit Valley. Zervas’ work always seems to hark back to a primitive or prior state. It’s not so much that he’s evoking a historically accurate past, but rather the power of something deeper and more primal in the past. The questions raised by his most recent exhibition at James Harris Gallery include whether the product can reflect on the origin; can one return from the cities... [more]
Bubble Fantasies   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jason Hirata at 4Culture November 3rd, 2011 - November 25th, 2011
Posted 11/14/11
The image can distort the magic of an idea, but true magical action transcends any singular or monolithic expression. When I last profiled Jason Hirata, he was convincing people, if only for a moment, that they were part of something magical and extra-ordinary through a series of poetic, cloak-and-dagger text messages. Now his images are simulacra of Bubble Tea posters - the kind you'd see in hanging sunbleached in Vietnamese cafés and pho houses. Hirata has created worked shoots, images... [more]
Often the most crucial thing an artist can do is expand their realm of references, and it’s a true delight to see an artist that begins with the unlimited realm of reference and builds work from there. The prolific emerging artist, Amanda Manitach, brings the radical insight of her interdisciplinary background to bear. Possessing an enduring creativity and an education in literature, Manitach turns her objects, recordings, and organizational initiatives into extensions of theory. It would be... [more]
Some Humans and Nature   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Scott Billings, Raymond Boisjoly, Josh Hite, Ryan Peter at The Vera Project August 7th, 2011 - August 31st, 2011
Posted 9/6/11
The human/nature divide has long concerned art as well, whether as a separating or uniting influence between the two sides. A new show curated by Josh Hite and organized by Will Owen, at the Vera Art Gallery, accesses nodes and fissures in the interface between humans' perception and nature's duration. Clearly there is no inhuman perception of nature that we could possibly experience, but the artists assembled here speak to the possibilities for natural understanding within human... [more]
One particularly special artist I've had the pleasure of meeting from the Pacific corridor is Raymond Boisjoly. An Aboriginal artist based in Vancouver, BC, Raymond is concerned with exploding the boundaries of what a text (in the unlimited expansive sense of what a text can be) can produce. For the purposes of full disclosure, I've worked with this artist on at least four occasions around the Northwest. My reason for continually returning to his work is simple: Raymond intelligently packages a... [more]
Lost in the Funhouse   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Andy Coolquitt, Martin Creed, Olafur Eliasson, Bill Fontana, Jeppe Hein, Julian Hoeber, Carsten Höller, Gareth Long, Mungo Thomson at Western Bridge May 27th, 2011 - July 30th, 2011
Posted 7/12/11
The latest offering from Seattle's Western Bridge gallery, Funhouse, seems intent on leaving a lasting impression: vertigo, a lack of breath, seared retinas. Granted that the carnival image conjured by the title is more Britney or X-tina than Turrell or Nauman, but the carefully pruned selections both support and belie this whimsical touch. This is not to say the sideshow allusion is dumped. Rather, one gets the impression that each of the major “attractions,” Mungo Thompson's Skyspace... [more]
Seth David Friedman is a fusion of scientist and utopian, working as a pediatric neuroscientist by day and a stonecarver by night. His carvings are homages, continuations, or perhaps summonings dedicated to the spirit of the late stonemason James Washington: “A way to honor the kinship felt to a man who had a similar affinity to stone. A way to invest in the health of his legacy.” The similarity between the professions of stone working, medicine, and religion come together where each requires... [more]
The Recognitions: the Reader   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
the Reader at Lawrimore Project April 7th, 2011 - April 30th, 2011
Posted 5/4/11
  In Elias Hansen's companion essay for , The Reader’s first exhibit in a commercial art venue, he remarks that The Reader has “...studied graphic design from a consumer, street-level approach...a workingman, and a workingman’s artist....” I would argue that Read is not just a workingman, but a self-taught master. It would be wrong to pigeonhole someone who is so clearly a talented grifter of words and images as a mere street-artist crossover. Certain circles of the anonymous-for-legal-reasons... [more]
Dancing in the Dark   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Crispin Spaeth at Western Bridge April 8th, 2011 - April 23rd, 2011
Posted 5/3/11
Accompanying the group show currently up at Western Bridge is Crispin Spaeth's Dark Room Trio, a piece of choreography performed by three dancers in complete darkness. Lasting for twenty minutes at a go, audience members sit on a collection of beanbags on a black carpet in a dark, dark room. With the aid of either night-vision binoculars or monoculars, they are presented and once employed aid in the crossing of several sensory thresholds. The dancers have no ability to see each other or the... [more]
While recently attempting to flee the quiet madness of the gray winter for the sunnier climes of Palm Springs, I bumped into artist Sheila Klein at the airport. She was just in from New York, having returned from the final stage of proposals for a public commission across from Grand Central Station. Among the finalists was Vito Acconci, and although neither of them won the project, Klein effused about her trip east and the new connections she was making—with the Jewish Museum in New York, the... [more]
Closed Satellite   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at Open Satellite March 19th, 2011 - March 19th, 2011
Posted 3/28/11
Bellevue, Washington’s only progressive contemporary art space, Open Satellite, closed its doors on March 19. Started initially through the private funding of developer John Su (it was located in the ground floor of a condo building he owns) in 2007, this year it attempted to transition to a non-profit model to continue existence even after Su decided to cease his support. Well, it’s over now. And instead of hashing out all the frustrating bullshit that led to the demise of this brave space,... [more]
Klara Glosova is a transplant to Seattle, originally hailing from the Czech Republic, but more recently of New York and Sitka, Alaska. As a practicing artist, her work has long been a process of turning inward, created she says, “in isolation.” Her most recent show, at The Living Room here in Seattle, used the record of a vivid and strange dream about having and art show and cake to produce a large number of sexualized, dreamlike popsicle-forms. The geometry was purely internal, but the... [more]
Close Quarters and Simple Chance   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Gretchen Bennett, Sol Hashemi, Matthew Offenbacher, Daphne Stergides, Ian Toms at NEPO House February 5th, 2011 - February 28th, 2011
Posted 2/22/11
NEPO House is a house-based project space and experimental art location. These types of spaces have become more popular recently in Seattle as a confluence of a few factors: the lack of a strong orthodox institutional structure in Seattle, the conviviality felt between many local artists, the desire to fill in where large formations leave gaps. NEPO House is intriguing because it is also a family home. Czech-born Klara Glosova started with conceptualization of an “open house.” This... [more]
In a preview shown at “12 Minutes Max” at august performance hall On the Boards in Seattle last winter, Mike Pham literally beat the stage to shit with his own body. While segments contained graceful and balletic movements, a large portion was devoted to his (or perhaps his character's) inability to perform difficult ice skating tricks. The choreography for this largely consisted of Pham throwing himself into triple axels and spins with no intention of landing them properly. If you were in the... [more]
Come Together   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Abigail Reynolds at AMBACH & RICE December 10th, 2010 - January 16th, 2011
Posted 1/10/11
A great trick of the Enlightenment was to create an association between data collection and a 1:1 production of knowledge. The notion being the more you measure, the more you know. Science claims to objectivity of knowledge; simple empirical facticity. Still the history of science belies this, and one need look no further than Einstein's famous statement that he would rather not believe in ultimate quantum uncertainty, unable to contest the solid mathematics and experimentation these claims... [more]
According to, (“Welcome Home all Lightworkers, Star Seeds, and Divine Multidimensional Beings”), 2011 is the year of Living Courageously, the year of Loving Co-Creatively, and the year of Liberating Freedom! Seeing these words, Seattle's collective unconscious (or possibly unconscious collective) must have immediately alighted on the name Joey Veltkamp. Thinking about Lightworker’s predictions, it made sense to nominate an exemplar, a mascot for this year's upcoming spiritual... [more]
Lyndeguistics   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 11/23/10
The recent “Lyndeguistics” series on the Hedreen Gallery Facebook page (where I happen to work) comes from a singular source; Seattle's own Jim Demetre. Active as an art critic and horticulturalist for literally decades, Demetre has recently been elucidating and uncovering the mystical depths of Paul Lynde Youtube videos. These exegeses are attempts to recapture the style in which Demetre used to write c.1989.  Paul Lynde was a quite obviously gay American comedian and actor... [more]
Last year’s coming winter led Anne Fenton (née Mathern) to a consolidating gambit. In January 2010, having fallen out of love with her current practice and needing a change of scenery, Fenton attended the Mountain School in Los Angeles, saying at the time, “I'm not ending my art, I'm not substituting the party for the studio, and I'm not regressing or becoming unsure of what I was doing. It is time to stop maintaining the art process and start working on the art.”  Yes, she wanted to move on,... [more]
The Phenomenonlogically Sexual Yearnings of Post-Minimalist Car Parts   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Natalie Häusler, Jesse Sugarmann. at Season October 30th, 2010 - December 31st, 2010
Posted 11/1/10
The narrator of JG Ballard's quakes beneath the unresolvable desire to experience his first car accident (a quasi-sexual revelatory experience) again and again. He repeatedly finds himself obsessively tracing with sensual languor the route of his first collision. In narrativally fingering the contours of this endless fantasy, Ballard finds the car to be the quintessential psychoanalytic object of the modern age. Birth and death, blood and semen, intakes and exhaust, respiration, sex,... [more]
Jason Hirata is training himself to be Dr. Mabuse—Fritz Lang's pulpy and yet terrifying creation, a master of both disguise and telepathy, a villain capable of influencing everything around himself whilst appearing unconnected in any legal verifiable way from the crimes and wicked deeds accomplished. In the (1933), the character remains confined within an insane asylum, influencing the outside world through his writings and his sheer psychic force, even after his physical form ceases to exist.... [more]
Martin Creed's Big Idea   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Martin Creed at Western Bridge September 11th, 2010 - December 18th, 2010
Posted 9/20/10
The question of how big or how small an idea actually is tends to be glossed over. Even though so many of our assessments of art implicitly or explicitly reference the size of an idea, actually grasping the sizing of something is more difficult than mere viewing or comprehension. The size of an idea is directly related (unsurprisingly) to how many ideas are referenced or contained within a single, signifying concept. To take an unqualified personal stance on this issue within a review context:... [more]
What Would MVH do?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 8/23/10
In Seattle, we sometimes pay tribute to the movers and shakers in the “scene.” With various official/non-official awards and 'best of' constructions handed around like grade-school certificates (“Most Punctual” anyone?), we attempt to locate those deemed in need of honorifics, and honor away. In particular, I am thinking of our local alternative weekly’s annual award; the Stranger Genius Awards. This consists generally of an evening with far too much pomp, a bit of circumstance, and a... [more]
Dan Cameron’s recent post for ART IT about the Seattle art scene (“Three Spaces in Seattle”) ended up raising a fair amount of discussion in our little burg. Once of the Whitney and currently the director of the struggling New Orleans biennial, "Prospect", the august curator Cameron highlights, for special attention, two spaces in or around the center of Seattle and one in Bellevue, the suburb just over a bridge to the east. Citing his surprise at finding Seattle to be lacking a traditional... [more]
Summer Projects at the Olympic Sculpture Park   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Andrew Dadson, Jenny Heishman, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Whiting Tennis, Mungo Thomson at Seattle Art Museum June 12th, 2010 - October 31st, 2010
Posted 7/19/10
Robert Smithson, "Cultural Confinement," 1972Maybe Smithson’s right about sculpture parks: the bourgeois ramble, the semblance of control over nature, the way they run counter to his favorite word (“dialectic”). But then again, the art and artists who inhabit these spaces have changed a little since the pigeon- (and pigeon-shit-) clad bronze soldiers of Smithson’s time. So while the beaches crowd with naked, sunless Seattlite skin and the limitations of artisanal ice creams are discovered,... [more]
Into the Void with Andrew Dadson   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Andrew Dadson at Lawrimore Project May 13th, 2010 - June 26th, 2010
Posted 5/31/10
The question need not be trouble for art. The more troubling questions of our time; existence, ennui, meaning, distinction, progression, need not trouble those who simply (like most of us) choose to follow a predetermined system. But the ability to create our own meaning confers the ability to slip out of knots and out from under rocks that might otherwise trap us. To assume new meanings, to leave it undefined, to be positively and happily ambivalent is a great joy. No visibility, no presence... [more]
We'll Always Get That High   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Eli Hansen at Lawrimore Project April 1st, 2010 - May 9th, 2010
Posted 4/27/10
A discussion about memory and drugs is always going to be trickier than it sounds.   Elias Hansen’s new show is either a step towards a semblance of sobriety, or just a new form of crazy, or both simultaneously. Having known Elias in various professional and personal contexts for the last 3 years doesn't help deciding the matter much, and I think he likes it that way. Collecting over 30 pieces of work in film, glass, paint, and wood, the exhibition could feel like a long and multifarious... [more]
Cat Powered   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Gretchen Bennett at Seattle Art Museum March 3rd, 2010 - September 6th, 2010
Posted 3/30/10
In an effort to harness one of the few brand-name cultural products of Seattle to draw tourists, the Seattle Art Museum is putting on a show called Kurt (opening May 13) thematically centered around Kurt Cobain. Preceding the exhibition by two months is Gretchen Bennett’s video I Don't Blame You , 2009, which either is about fame or Kurt Cobain and uses the Cat Power song of the same title (which either is or is not about Kurt Cobain) as a point of departure. Featuring Bennett singing Cat... [more]
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